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View Full Version : Has the ukulele jumped the shark yet?



Dougf
07-18-2011, 04:12 PM
Of course we'll probably not recognize that 'JTS' moment until well after it has happened, but the Eddie Vedder thread kind of makes me wonder. What will it take, a boy band that plays ukulele? Lady Gaga's uke album? Or what?

uke4ia
07-18-2011, 04:31 PM
You gotta shark? Wow! Does it have a frickin' laser beam? Now Shark Acquisition Syndrome I could get behind!

haole
07-18-2011, 05:19 PM
I hope so. I'll still play regardless. :B

sonicbaker
07-18-2011, 05:29 PM
Speaking of Jumping the Shark and Ukes - Here is blurb from a recap where the cast of Happy Days and Ukes were indeed combined~


"Potsie and Ralph want to go out with Rebecca and Candy who are also working on the time capsule. Richie takes Kim to the vault, and Potsie, Ralph, and the girls go as well. Fonzie and Miss Radcliff are spotted in the vault behind a box. Potsie accidentally locks them in after Miss Radcliff leaves the time capsule. Ralph panics. The vault only opens from the outside. Fonzie tries to ration the food, but there is no food to ration. Potsie sings "Get Happy" and then "Lollipop" while Kim plays the ukulele. Richie and Fonzie sit on a hammock and wonder how air will get into the vault."

http://www.episodeguide.us/happy-days/time-capsule/episode/20545/summary.html

70sSanO
07-18-2011, 05:34 PM
Unlike the TV show that inspired JTS, playing a musical instrument is not a spectator pastime.

If anything it may have gone the other way. Regardless of musical tastes, the younger generation will determine the JTS moment. If Lady Gaga put out a ukulele album, the popularity of the instrument would explode even more.

Another sign that the moment is not upon us is the speed at which threads, the Anti-Vedder thread being the exception, fly from page 1 to page 2, 3, 4...

John

diego
07-18-2011, 06:06 PM
Of course we'll probably not recognize that 'JTS' moment until well after it has happened, but the Eddie Vedder thread kind of makes me wonder. What will it take, a boy band that plays ukulele? Lady Gaga's uke album? Or what?

I don't think you should feel discouraged. As long as you are having fun playing your instrument there will not be any jumping of sharks. The Vedder thing will bring in some new players, but for many it will be a fad. The quality of the uke is determined by the player.

mds725
07-18-2011, 07:12 PM
I thought "jumping the shark" had jumped the shark.

Nickie
07-18-2011, 07:23 PM
I thought "jumping the shark" had jumped the shark.

LOL, good one!

sdmayo78
07-18-2011, 07:23 PM
I thought "jumping the shark" had jumped the shark.

love it...

Dougf
07-18-2011, 07:25 PM
I don't think you should feel discouraged. As long as you are having fun playing your instrument there will not be any jumping of sharks. The Vedder thing will bring in some new players, but for many it will be a fad. The quality of the uke is determined by the player.

I certainly don't feel discouraged, I just think there may come a time when the ukulele is just another instrument like violin or banjo, and we'll wonder "what was THAT all about?"

But maybe there truly is magic in this little flea, and there can be no doubt that people who love the uke will always do so, regardless of hype.

Kem
07-18-2011, 07:37 PM
Eh...people will eventually turn against the uke. It's happened before, and it will happen again. As someone who grew up playing the uke while it was still regarded as a toy or a "starter guitar," I think I can say that those who genuinely love it won't care what anybody else thinks about it. I've played the uke for most of my life, and I'm not about to stop because it's suddenly being adopted by a bunch of people enamoured of the latest trend. The trend itself may jump the shark, but a uke's a uke for all that.

Dougf
07-18-2011, 08:05 PM
I thought "jumping the shark" had jumped the shark.

Hey, I was not cool before not being cool was cool. Hmm... I guess it still isn't. :)

ichadwick
07-19-2011, 12:27 AM
Only if you think that, like TV shows, Lady Gaga or other passing fads, interest in ukuleles is transient. Just because guitars are used by boy bands or in Lady Gaga music doesn't mean they're passe. The uke has survived other journeys to the commercial side, it will survice more in future.

Hippie Dribble
07-19-2011, 02:24 AM
sorry guys. Please forgive my ignorance, but what does "jumping the shark" mean exactly? Must be a cultural thing. I've never heard that expression before...mind you I do live under a rock in the bush... :o

joeybug
07-19-2011, 02:53 AM
sorry guys. Please forgive my ignorance, but what does "jumping the shark" mean exactly? Must be a cultural thing. I've never heard that expression before...mind you I do live under a rock in the bush... :o

I don't either, so thanks for asking, I think it has something to do with it being a fad or a phase or something, just picking up from what others in this thread are saying...

brucemoffatt
07-19-2011, 03:11 AM
Jumping the shark references an episode of 'Happy Days' where The Fonz is waterski-ing and jumps over a man-eating shark. It is regarded as the moment when the script writers gave up and stopped trying to write a credible plot line. The expression has entered the vernacular to indicate a watershed moment when someone or something passes out of credibility.

Hippie Dribble
07-19-2011, 03:24 AM
Jumping the shark references an episode of 'Happy Days' where The Fonz is waterski-ing and jumps over a man-eating shark. It is regarded as the moment when the script writers gave up and stopped trying to write a credible plot line. The expression has entered the vernacular to indicate a watershed moment when someone or something passes out of credibility.

thanks Bruce.

cheekmeat
07-19-2011, 05:15 AM
I saw an interview with Henry Winkler (he played The Fonz) the other day, and in regards to jumping the shark he calmly smiled and pointed out that Happy Days was the number one show on television for five years after the shark episode.

Dougf
07-19-2011, 06:01 AM
Jumping the shark references an episode of 'Happy Days' where The Fonz is waterski-ing and jumps over a man-eating shark. It is regarded as the moment when the script writers gave up and stopped trying to write a credible plot line. The expression has entered the vernacular to indicate a watershed moment when someone or something passes out of credibility.

That is the most concise and accurate definition I've seen, well said.

Has anybody done the "Happy Days" theme for the Idiot Box Bonanza contest yet?

PoiDog
07-19-2011, 06:44 AM
I'm not sure if the popularity of the 'ukulele has reached the peak, but like many here, I don't know that it really matters all that much to me.

Unfortunately, while I was first officially introduced to the 'ukulele about 10 years ago, I only really started being serious and playing it about three months ago when I finally got one of my own. Because of that, I have to constantly hear the question of whether I am playing because of <insert name of the celebrity recently sighted publically with the uke as an accessory>. I appreciate that the rise in popularity means there are more resources, but it also brings with it those cynics who refuse to accept that some of us play it because we actually like playing it! Almost as if the only reason anyone on earth would have an 'ukulele is because <celebrity> has one.

I think the only reason I am hoping that the shark has been breached is so those people can now go away and be cynical about other fads.

hoosierhiver
07-19-2011, 06:51 AM
I consider the uke immune from desecration, it has survived alot of attempted humiliations and character assasinations over the years but is as pure as ever.

didgeridoo2
07-19-2011, 07:40 AM
I consider the uke immune from desecration, it has survived alot of attempted humiliations and character assasinations over the years but is as pure as ever.

Maybe it should be called "the jumping cockroach".

GrumpyCoyote
07-19-2011, 08:43 AM
I consider the uke immune from desecration, it has survived alot of attempted humiliations and character assasinations over the years but is as pure as ever.

I like it. It does have an incredible ability to come back from the dead. It's like an adorable little four stringed zombie.

crowsby
07-19-2011, 09:10 AM
It's absolutely jumped the shark, now someone sell me their Martin 5k for $200. You're lucky I'm offering that since it's a passing fad and all.

70sSanO
07-19-2011, 09:17 AM
I consider the uke immune from desecration, it has survived alot of attempted humiliations and character assasinations over the years but is as pure as ever.

I agree. Since the uke survived Tiny Tim, it will probably be able to survive whatever artist wants to "jump (on) the bandwagon"

John

ItsMrPitchy
07-19-2011, 09:29 AM
The uke will never stay dead forever. It has come back to popularity many times and will always do that. Look at Kamaka they have survived through thick and thin selling ukes and the uke has done the same.

When the time comes and it might do when the uke looses its popularity again i know that me and many others will stay with the uke.

ichadwick
07-19-2011, 09:41 AM
...Since the uke survived Tiny Tim...

Careful! Some of us LIKE Tiny Tim, or to be respectful: the late Herbert Buckingham Khaury. We believe we owe him a debt of gratitude for keeping alive an instrument much of the world had forgotten at that time. He was a great archivist of vintage music, too, and could perform some the 1920s and 30s music quite beautifully.

hoosierhiver
07-19-2011, 09:42 AM
He was a great archivist of vintage music, too, and could perform some the 1920s and 30s music quite beautifully.

and even recorded some of those songs for the Smithsonian, without him they'd probably be lost.

70sSanO
07-19-2011, 09:45 AM
One further observation...

Although there were other great ukulele instrumentals before Jake, he has probably done more to bring the ukulele from primarily an accompaniment instrument to a soloing instrument.

I've played guitar for a long time and trying to play some of those instrumentals using open chords up the neck and the way he strums all 4 strings with the stretches he does cannot be done on a guitar.

I may be wrong, but I have yet to see Clapton play Jake's version of Guitar Gently Weeps on a guitar.

I think this makes it impossible to compare the current interest to ukulele fads gone by.

John

joeybug
07-19-2011, 10:20 AM
I like it. It does have an incredible ability to come back from the dead. It's like an adorable little four stringed zombie.

I LOVE that part of the quote, I so want to paint a dolphin like a zombie now!

Foinnse
07-19-2011, 11:43 AM
I would agree what others have said that whether the uke is regarded as cool or not in years to come I will definitely still be playing. I'm only playing about 1 and a half years but I have enjoyed it so much. It has allowed me to accompany myself singing and therefore has allowed me to share my enjoyment of just singing a few songs, with others. I would never sing in front of people normally but now I can.
It has also inspired me to try other instruments. Previously I may have been a little intimdated to try out an instrument but now I really enjoy it. I'm not saying I play these instruments well but who cares? I'm getting stuck in and enjoying the experience.

Cheers -F

hoosierhiver
07-19-2011, 12:01 PM
I like it. It does have an incredible ability to come back from the dead. It's like an adorable little four stringed zombie.

I'd say more like fireweed, but same thing.

brucemoffatt
07-19-2011, 01:54 PM
I can't see myself giving up the uke if the fad wanes. I've tried and tried and tried to play musical instruments all of my life and failed. I'm failing less at uke than at any other instrument, and I love music. This instrument is definitely a keeper.

haole
07-19-2011, 02:23 PM
Complaining about the state of the uke, who's good/bad for its image, etc. is worthless. When Ke$ha's album "Ukulele in my *@#!&" (pronounced you-kuh-lay-lee, of course) drops this fall and we watch her strumming an obscene-looking custom tenor using her favorite coke razor as a pick, I hope the folks that truly love the ukulele will stick around instead of jumping ship when it's finally reached the breaking point for them.

The album is real, by the way, and also I commissioned the custom uke for her. I'm not sorry.

janeray1940
07-19-2011, 02:52 PM
Aside from the web, I'm pretty media-deprived - no cable, no tv at all, don't listen to the radio, don't read the paper. So a couple years back when I started playing, I had no idea that it *was* a current fad. And if learning that it was trendy didn't make me give it up, nothing will.

70sSanO
07-19-2011, 03:13 PM
I hope the folks that truly love the ukulele will stick around instead of jumping ship...

I'm not sure I understand this. I think one thing that needs to be considered is that is someone really loves playing the ukulele it will not matter who puts out a ukulele album.

There are only few on the planet that do not consider KISS to be the all time worst rock band.

So even if KISS were to go on tour in full costume, albeit more than a few sizes larger, playing ukuleles... even that would not cause me to give up the ukulele.

However just that image may have already caused permanent damage, but I will persevere none-the-less.

John

sonicbaker
07-19-2011, 03:41 PM
I'm not sure I understand this. I think one thing that needs to be considered is that is someone really loves playing the ukulele it will not matter who puts out a ukulele album.

There are only few on the planet that do not consider KISS to be the all time worst rock band.

So even if KISS were to go on tour in full costume, albeit more than a few sizes larger, playing ukuleles... even that would not cause me to give up the ukulele.

However just that image may have already caused permanent damage, but I will persevere none-the-less.

John

Hey John, I do actually love Kiss..well, the 70's version anyway...but it looks like they've already been there, done that...haha

http://www.pssl.com/images/ProdImage01/500/UIC10BK.jpg

webby
07-19-2011, 03:48 PM
Does anyone here remember the last time that ukes were all the rage and then went went out of vogue ?, As far as I can make out it was in the 50's sometime, because I grew up in the 70's and 80's and I don't remember them ever being "in" in that period, and the sixties were all about the Beatles and free love, and I cant for a moment imagine Hendrix or David Bowie or The Sex Pistols playing a uke, and then the 50's (well the late 50's anyway) was all about rock n roll, so maybe the early 50's was the last time ukes were popular before now, I'm not sure.

I think this time we have a ways to go yet before the jump the shark moment, I mean every week I see stories about Americans living in their cars or in tent cities as their empire crumbles into the third world, so i guess guitars will be a bit big for them, and a uke will be a cheap alternative that will fit easily in the car or tent. And no one expects the USA to recover from its collapse anytime in the next few decades, so the uke may have a longer run in popularity this time.

Also, seeing as the chinese have such small hands, and they are now the global super power, ukes should hold their own in that market.

Anyways, my question is, did they get cheaper when they stopped being popular last time ?

Like it's all very well having ukes on the market now for 2 grand and above, but in the 1970's for example, could you pick up a solid wood uke for peanuts compared to today, or did people just stop making them ?

didgeridoo2
07-19-2011, 03:50 PM
My uke just jumped a snark.

70sSanO
07-19-2011, 04:02 PM
Just to recap where we have gone...

Eddie Vedder
Lady Gaga
Henry Winkler
Tiny Tim
Herbert Buckingham Khaury
Ke$ha (?)
Kiss
David Bowie
The Sex Pistols

...no matter the fate of the ukulele, there can't be too many threads on any forum that contain the above.

John

uke4ia
07-19-2011, 05:09 PM
Like it's all very well having ukes on the market now for 2 grand and above, but in the 1970's for example, could you pick up a solid wood uke for peanuts compared to today, or did people just stop making them ?

Most of today's fancy uke makers weren't making them back then. The prices started going up in the mid-80s when the Japanese started buying quality ukuleles as collectibles. Or at least that's what I was told at the time. I learned on a 1920s Martin 2-M that my sister picked up for $15 in the late '60s.

mds725
07-19-2011, 08:15 PM
As far as I can make out it was in the 50's sometime, because I grew up in the 70's and 80's and I don't remember them ever being "in" in that period, and the sixties were all about the Beatles and free love, and I cant for a moment imagine Hendrix or David Bowie or The Sex Pistols playing a uke, and then the 50's (well the late 50's anyway) was all about rock n roll, so maybe the early 50's was the last time ukes were popular before now, I'm not sure.

George Harrison, John Lennon and Paul McCartney all played the ukulele (McCartney still does) and, according to many sources, they wrote at least some of their early songs on them. (They did grow up in the 40s and 50s.) The Who had a minor hit in 1975 with "Blue Red and Grey" from their "The Who By Numbers" album. Yup, that's an ukulele.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a7SliN-82P0

GrumpyCoyote
07-20-2011, 01:36 PM
Apropos of almost nothing... I once had it suggested to me that we now replace the term "Jumped the Shark" with "Nuked the Fridge", because of the hideously written seen in the latest Indiana Jones movie where the eponymous hero narrowly averts the nuclear detonation by hiding in a refrigerator. Why I agree that the scene was bad and the film unwatchable, I don't think it's a good shark jumping substitute. It is a fine expression though.

In either case, the uke may very well have jumped the shark, but not quite nuked the fridge.

Now back to your thread...

Piikea
07-20-2011, 02:13 PM
It certainly is trending in that direction. I just got my new issue of Premier Guitar in the mail and inside are 3 splashy adds from Martin on Ukuleles, in one they feature two dreads, with a little soprano thrown in at the bottom...

Now it seems this little instrument is all over the place in commercials and such and I guess that's ok. But I compare the new uke craze to how I see many mainlanders viewing Hawaii.

Everybody dreams of Hawaii, everyone wants to live the permanent vacation here, you feel it, and taste it, but then you go home. Those that are from here, or live here know it's not that, it's get up every morning, go to work, use your wits to be able to stay here in Paradise. It takes a special mentality to continue here.

Same same with ukulele, once the craze has worn off, there will be those like us that have played it for much longer than the craze, and in some settings would have been considered silly for playing the little thing. Now, it's the rage, it was once, and now is again, but it's still the same and will quiet down to dedicated players once again.

austin1
07-20-2011, 08:20 PM
Apropos of almost nothing... I once had it suggested to me that we now replace the term "Jumped the Shark" with "Nuked the Fridge", because of the hideously written seen in the latest Indiana Jones movie where the eponymous hero narrowly averts the nuclear detonation by hiding in a refrigerator. Why I agree that the scene was bad and the film unwatchable, I don't think it's a good shark jumping substitute. It is a fine expression though.

In either case, the uke may very well have jumped the shark, but not quite nuked the fridge.

Now back to your thread...

I didn't think that film could be any worse, and then I saw it dubbed in German. Bad bad bad.

TheOnlyUkeThatMatters
07-20-2011, 08:31 PM
I didn't think that film could be any worse, and then I saw it dubbed in German. Bad bad bad.

Remind me of the full title of that film again, was it "Indiana Jones and the Total Lack of Suspense" or was it "Indiana Jones and the Geritol of Boredom"?

TCK
07-20-2011, 08:41 PM
I consider the uke immune from desecration, it has survived alot of attempted humiliations and character assasinations over the years but is as pure as ever.
plus one on this post

whetu
07-20-2011, 10:30 PM
George Harrison, John Lennon and Paul McCartney all played the ukulele (McCartney still does)

THAT'S UNFAIR! McCartney is still alive! :D

As for jumping the shark, did any other Arrested Development fan get that when Henry Winkler's useless lawyer character jumped over a shark (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jm6B31HKBw) on his way to his shameless spot at BK? I was in tears, and my friends were looking at me like I'd lost my mind.

p.s. the ukulele will never jump the shark. The shark will jump the ukulele.

austin1
07-20-2011, 11:32 PM
Remind me of the full title of that film again, was it "Indiana Jones and the Total Lack of Suspense" or was it "Indiana Jones and the Geritol of Boredom"?

Indiana Jones and the Cold War Ended A While Ago? Indiana Jones and the Conveniently Padded Refrigerator? I can't remember either...




p.s. the ukulele will never jump the shark. The shark will jump the ukulele.


Not unless the dolphin jumps it first! BOOYAH! GO DOLPHIN GO.

pulelehua
07-21-2011, 08:34 AM
In defense of Indiana Jones, if you take the premise that IJ movies reflect the pulp literature of the time, then a sequel set in the 50s has to be about UFOs and nuclear weapons. And for whatever reason, that genre of pulp has aged less well.

On to more happy news, I'm trying to spread the phrase "jumped the shark" in England.

Resulting in the conversation with a Year 12 student:

"Stop writing that stuff. Dubstep has jumped the shark."

"No. This is drum-step. So it's ok."

Clearly, there will be some teething pains........

austin1
07-21-2011, 09:27 AM
In defense of Indiana Jones, if you take the premise that IJ movies reflect the pulp literature of the time, then a sequel set in the 50s has to be about UFOs and nuclear weapons. And for whatever reason, that genre of pulp has aged less well.


Man, I just can't win. :D

Best of luck in your jumped-the-shark advocacy!

photopatch
07-21-2011, 10:14 AM
I can't see myself giving up the uke if the fad wanes. I've tried and tried and tried to play musical instruments all of my life and failed. I'm failing less at uke than at any other instrument, and I love music. This instrument is definitely a keeper.

I couldn't agree more!

GrumpyCoyote
07-21-2011, 01:05 PM
In defense of Indiana Jones, if you take the premise that IJ movies reflect the pulp literature of the time, then a sequel set in the 50s has to be about UFOs and nuclear weapons. And for whatever reason, that genre of pulp has aged less well.


I'll opt for "Lucas' writing has aged less well"... ;)

One could even say it's jumped the shark.

Dougf
07-21-2011, 02:06 PM
Perhaps another shark-jumping data point, or, as mentioned in a previous post, the natural affinity between zombies and ukuleles. :)

http://zombiepoch.com/zombieukulele

ukegirl
07-21-2011, 04:05 PM
Boy, if that happens I'll have to go back to playing the lute!

mr moonlight
07-22-2011, 03:29 AM
Just to recap where we have gone...

Eddie Vedder
Lady Gaga
Henry Winkler
Tiny Tim
Herbert Buckingham Khaury
Ke$ha (?)
Kiss
David Bowie
The Sex Pistols

...no matter the fate of the ukulele, there can't be too many threads on any forum that contain the above.

John

We can now add Indiana Jones to that list and I think Hendrix and Clapton made it in there too.

mr moonlight
07-22-2011, 03:45 AM
Aside from the web, I'm pretty media-deprived - no cable, no tv at all, don't listen to the radio, don't read the paper. So a couple years back when I started playing, I had no idea that it *was* a current fad. And if learning that it was trendy didn't make me give it up, nothing will.

I'm pretty much in a similar boat. Of course I get tons of influence from Pop culture through the web so I can't really call myself media depraved. Still I had no idea that the uke had become the latest fad when I started playing early this year. I just figured I was getting back to my Hawaiian roots. Really I could care less how popular an instrument is except that the more popular it is, the more resources there are for it. If anything I look at it as a huge benefit.

If Ukulele players have it bad. How about being a sax player and having someone say to you, "oh like Kenny G, I love him, hey can you play one of his songs?" It doesn't matter who plays the instrument or how popular it gets, it's still the same instrument that's been giving us so much enjoyment over the years. If the Sax and Kenny G can co-exist in the world then the uke is doing just fine.

cheekmeat
07-22-2011, 04:20 AM
did any other Arrested Development fan get that when Henry Winkler's useless lawyer character jumped over a shark (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jm6B31HKBw) on his way to his shameless spot at BK?

I have watched Arrested Development all the way through a few times now, and it wasn't until just recently I caught that bit. I laughed out loud and my wife asked why. I played the bit twice before she caught it.

whetu
07-25-2011, 10:31 PM
I have watched Arrested Development all the way through a few times now, and it wasn't until just recently I caught that bit. I laughed out loud and my wife asked why. I played the bit twice before she caught it.

And that's the best part about that show, it has so much replay value - lots of little jokes tucked in there that you might not immediately get :D A shame it got canned :(

brucemoffatt
07-26-2011, 12:00 AM
It's probably way too early for this, but speaking of jumping the shark, does anyone know any Amy Winehouse uke arrangements? They are about to become very popular, I hear.

webby
07-26-2011, 02:21 AM
perhaps we should be congratulating miss Winehouse, its the first time she's been sober for 24 hours.

mketom
07-26-2011, 02:30 AM
not nice... :(

Rockabilly
07-26-2011, 02:58 AM
wow!..... anyways

GrumpyCoyote
07-26-2011, 09:22 AM
Easy now... I'd rather not lock the thread. Folks get understandably upset when you poke fun at the recently deceased.

Don't make me pull this thread over and give it a what for.

Canuke
07-26-2011, 07:28 PM
I have never officially met anyone who plays the ukulele except when I was in Japan. So I have only the Interweb to tell me that it is suddenly trendy. That was certainly not the case two years ago in Canada. I have given away seven or eight ukes, so I am trying to spread the gospel. But being in Korea, I have no evidence of a trend or a shark jumping. But I do see Koreans looking at ukes at the biggest instrument market in Seoul. So maybe the uke will blow up here someday.